5 Special Activities for the Best Remote Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Isaac Sacolick

This isn't an ordinary Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday period. Looking back to my post last year on 5 reasons for CIO to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, I reflect on how much the world has changed since then. I look back even further to my 2013 post, a CIO top ten guide to preparing a Thanksgiving feast, and it's like staring at the green screen of a legacy system.

Yes, this Thanksgiving is different. Most of us won't be leaving the office early on Tuesday to get a head start on the holiday because we're already home. The majority of us won't be going to the airport to fly out to visit family or pick visitors up. And chances are, you'll be Zooming with family rather than attending an in-person get-together.

The data scientists may tell us afterward that the number of turkeys sold went up, but the weight per turkey was down. Either that or we have more leftovers.

So I've been thinking about how to make this very different, somewhat compromised Thanksgiving a holiday to remember. Here are some suggestions.

1. Create a Persistent, Multi-Room Zoom 

About twenty years ago (i.e., long before Zoom), I visited a company with offices in Florida and Arizona. They were concerned about the lack of collaboration and friendship between people across offices, so they installed persistently-on video conferencing in both lunch rooms. Whether you liked it or not, your colleagues from the other office were there to have lunch with you. I thought it was brilliant! 

This is a little easier to do today with Zoom, Teams, Meeting, or other conferencing tools. We're going to set up one in our living room and connect with the families we normally have Thanksgiving with every year.

2. POC New Recipes

I'm an adventurous eater and cook. My specialties are Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Italian, and I tend to cook more vege, seafood, and lower carb meals. 

My family is not very adventurous, and so our Thanksgiving meals tend to be very traditional. If I make three greens, I know they'll all be for me, and if I cook anything less than three potato dishes, well, then I can expect a stakeholder revolt.

So if I can't have family over, then it's time to POC some new recipes. I'm thinking of either a New Mexican or Indian themed holiday. I'll post pictures on my Instagram account.

3. Schedule a Family E-Learning

I confess that the only reason football is on in my house over Thanksgiving is because of my family's interest. I'm a hockey, baseball, and soccer fan and have little interest in pigskin rituals on Thanksgiving.

No offense, everyone.

So what should we do after the big meal? There's no way we're going to watch more TV reruns, agree on a Netflix movie, or drive me crazy watching my kids' YouTube selections.

I'm going to peruse Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and The Great Courses. Finding something that everyone wants to participate in will be a great challenge. I hope not to fail fast.

4. Schedule a Virtual Toast with Friends

Guessing you've also had a hard time keeping up with friends and colleagues this year. The last two years I spent a lot of time on the road and saw friends and family in San Francisco, Austin, Portland, Seattle, Miami, Denver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and many other cities that I miss dearly.

So I plan to schedule a couple of virtual toasts throughout the day. Send me a note on Twitter, LinkedIn, or leave me a note here if you want to join in! 

5. Get an Early Start to Giving Tuesday

Instead of getting ahead of your holiday shopping, I suggest rushing to the front of the line in your charitable giving. One of the best places to do this is by researching charities on Charity Navigator, a site that rates charities. This year, the team there took so major steps forward and they now rate over 160,000 charities and launched the Encompass Rating System.  Congrats to the team!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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